Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you have not read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned how Shema Statements can be used to launch spiritual discussions with the people around us, whether we know them or not.
In this session, we’ll learn how to break the habit of thinking in a linear pattern as a way of accelerating kingdom growth.
To make disciples who make disciples more quickly, we have to keep in mind that multiple things can happen at the same time and there is not a certain order in which they need to happen. We have to learn the power of NON-SEQUENTIAL growth.
When people think about disciples multiplying, they often think of it as a step-by-step process. First prayer. Then preparation. Then sharing God’s good news. Then building disciples. Then building churches. Then developing leaders. Then reproduction.
When we learn this way, kingdom growth seems to be an easy-to-follow, linear and sequential process. One problem is that’s not how it always works. A bigger problem is that’s not how it often works best.
Imagine a line that represents a person’s life. Here’s birth. Here’s the first time they hear God’s good news. Here’s when they choose to follow Jesus. Here’s when they first share their story and God’s story and they begin to multiply. And here’s where this life ends.
So from first hearing about Jesus to first sharing about Jesus is what we could consider a spiritual generation. This amount of time before multiplying. This amount of time before God’s family grows. This is how discipleship is usually taught.
But when we use a pattern like Greatest Blessing - watch what happens.
Now a new disciple starts multiplying immediately. The spiritual generation shortens. Someone hears God’s good news sooner. God’s family grows more quickly. More people are saved for eternity.
And all of it - simply by moving when they multiply.
But what if we keep going? What if someone starts multiplying even earlier? What if they begin to share after they first hear instead of after they first believe?
Some are open to gathering a group and sharing what they learn from God’s Word with friends and family before they ever say “yes” to Jesus. If we show those people how to gather a group and share what they learn and show others how to do the same, God’s family grows even faster. Now discipleship is a path to Jesus not just something we share after salvation.
This is a way a family or friends or even a village can come to follow Jesus.
But what if someone can multiply even sooner? What if someone could share God’s ways before they even meet God’s Son?
Sometimes a group may be unable or not ready to hear God’s good news immediately. But this group can still learn God’s patterns - through efforts like community development or leadership training. This group can begin multiplying God’s patterns - learning - obeying - sharing - and teaching others to do the same even before they first hear about Jesus.
When this happens, God’s ways are imprinted into willing hearts. His patterns are woven into a community and individual lives. Then when God has prepared His way - God’s good news can reveal the truth they’ve been receiving all along. This is the way an institution, a community, or even a country can come to follow Jesus.
Non-Sequential growth still requires “What’s Essential?” thinking. No matter what process - the biggest question is always the same - Who is the good soil that will be faithful? Who will learn and practice and share God’s ways?
Uncovering this good soil - discovering these good hearts - is worth all of our time and energy and effort. These are the ones we pour out our hearts to. These are the ones we pour out our lives for. These are the ones who grow God’s kingdom best.
What can you do to shorten up the spiritual generations?